As the Pennsylvania House of Representatives moves toward consideration of legislation that would allow most businesses in the Commonwealth to reopen—legislation we believe is dangerous to the public’s lives and health—House Democrats have proposed amendments that would protect workers who would be forced back to work.
They would require that:
- the minimum wage for employees be $15 an hour;
- employees at risk receive additional hazard pay;
- businesses use social distancing and physical barriers to protect workers;
- employees have breaks and places with adequate soap and water to wash their hands;
- employees have access to hand sanitizer at all times;
- employees be granted leave for sickness with compensation at the same rate;
- employees be informed by their employer if a coworker has been tested for COVID-19.
Yet, astonishingly, Speaker Turzai has ruled these amendments out of order! He is pushing bills to open businesses yet somehow he thinks worker protections have nothing to do with the issue!
This action makes crystal clear that the Republican majority is not seeking to reopen to help working people or our economy. They are doing it to help their business contributors (and in some cases their own businesses.)
This is even more of a reason for every legislator to say no to putting not just employees but customers and the public’s lives and health at risk.